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Qual Health Res. 2007 May;17(5):639-51.

"I try to take care of it myself." how rural women search for health information.

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University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


Rural living poses special challenges (and opportunities) for the significant health information intermediary role that women enact. The authors describe interviews with 40 women living in a rural, medically underserved county in south-western Ontario, Canada, who discussed their information-seeking experiences and the strategies used to find information about a chronic health concern or an acute medical problem. The women's stories reveal that they define health very broadly and that their information seeking is influenced by contextual factors, such as rural living and gender roles, that interplay with their self-reliance, health literacy, and the availability and willingness of others in professional and non-professional roles to give support within relationships of care. The authors discuss themes emerging from the interviews in connection with the apparent mismatch between women's lived realities and the policy assumptions supporting the development of e-health strategies for providing health information to people living in rural and remote communities.

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